Florence County contains 2 of the original 3 state designated Wild Rivers. The 100 mile Wisconsin Wild Rivers Tour provides highway signs that guide you to 15 different access points on the Pine and Popple Wild Rivers in northern Wisconsin. The term 'Wild' refers to the undeveloped shorelines along these rivers. While there are a few class 3 rapids and several waterfalls, there are numerous stretches suitable for beginning paddlers and there are portages around the challenging stretches. The access points can be used by fishermen, hiker's, photographers, birders, and berry or mushrooms pickers.

For places to eat and drink paired with the different sections of our Wild Rivers throughout the County click here for Rivers & Restaurants info.
Wild River Access Pts
a) Access #1 Pine River Crossing on Hwy 101
Fern, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking area - improved access area
A short but beautiful flat-water float for novice paddlers. It is only 1.4 river miles and takes a minimum of 30 minutes. This section features 2 interesting Quinnesec Formation Precambrian rock outcrops. Also, just before the takeout the Popple River joins the Pine from the river’s right side. At the point of this confluence Charles LaSalle, a locally historic figure, operated his trading post for a number of years. Between the confluence and immediately before the takeout is a full-river class-1 rapids that is formed by the remnants of an old bridge. On the right is a public takeout. The landing on the left is private property. The most significant hindrance to enjoying this float trip is that travel to the public takeout is by a long, potentially very rough, backwoods road. It is possible, with considerable effort, to float down and paddle (or pole back upriver to highway 101.)


b) Access #2 Jennings Falls on Hwy 101/Mulberry Lane
Fern, WI

Waterfall, fishing, parking area - rugged access site
A hike into this small falls provides a glimpse of one of the are's little known mini-canyons. In the low and warm waters of late summer it is challenging but possible and interesting to hike the riverbed and along the bank all the way to the confluence. This affords an opportunity to see more if the rock outcrops along this section of the Popple River.


c) Access #3 Big Bull Falls on Hwy 101/West River Rd
West River Rd, Fence, WIMap

Waterfall, fishing, parking area- rugged access site
The hike-in trail provides access to both the falls and the length of Long-day Rapids below the falls. Fishing along the banks of the rapids is possible. The Falls provide a dramatic look at a massive Precambrian, Granitic, Quinesec Formation rock outcrop. The high bluff overlook of the falls is amazing. The island has some extraordinarily beautiful water-sculpting of the outcrop.The smooth scalloping of the outcrop was created by glacial melt-water.

Between Big Bull Falls and Long-day rapids is a large, deep, still-water pond.


d) Access #4 Popple River Crossing on 101
Fence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, picnic area, parking area- improved access site
This landing has one of the area's thickest blanket of spring wildflowers, including trout lily, spring beauty and more.
Canoe trips on the Popple River require expert-level canoeing skills and is not a river for paddlers with novice or intermediate abilities. One-third of a mile downriver is a long, technically challenging class 2 technical rapids (Champeau Rapids). Long quiet water sections are between Champeau Rapids and Washburn Falls and between Washburn Falls and Jennings Falls. Portage around Washburn Falls is signed and has a very rugged, but well-worn path. Jennings Falls has no developed portage but in low water it may be possible to drag a boat over the rocks along the shore. The trip from 101 to the confluence is 6.3 river miles and takes a minimum of 2.5-3 hours.


e) Access #5 Popple River Crossing - Morgan Lake Rd
Fence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking area- improved access site
This 5 mile section is perhaps the most dangerous and ambitious single section of whitewater on either river. There are 13 sets of class 2-technical rapids and two falls that are class 3. For the advanced whitewater paddler this section at the right water levels is an excellebnt riun. For the full, upper-body, lower-body workout, returning to your car by bicycle is a dandy complement to this trip.
The USGS river monitoring station for the Popple River is located at the Morgan Lake Bridge. Immediately upriver from the bridge one can see the embankment remnants of an old logging-era dam. There are hike-in trails down river from the parking area for fishing.


f) Access #6 Popple River Crossing - Newald Tower Rd
Fence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking are, fire ring- rugged access site
This location is known for its beauty, wildlife, birding, turtle activity, wildflowers, hiking and 1-3 informal car-camping spots. A 1/4 mile long curving class 2-technical rapids (NT Rapids) terminate under the bridge. Upriver along the rapids is a popular and beautiul hike and is frequently fished. Dead-falls will commonly obstruct canoe passage down these rapids. Similar to other sections of the Popple River this section, while short and inviting, requires advanced paddling skills. Two miles downriver is a long complicated and fast class 2 rapids (Boren Rapida) that is immediately followed by the deceptively dangerous Camp 1 Rapids. Camp 1 Rapids start mildly and travel around a bend out of sight. Around the bend the river constricts, flow increases and suddenly there is a line of massive boulders that cross the entire river and block passage.
In all, this section is 4.7 miles of river which takes a minimum of 2.5 hours to paddle and portage. The south branch of the Popple River joins the north branch about 1/4 mile dooownriver from Newald Tower Bridge.


g) Access #7 South Branch Popple River

Fishing, parking along road only- rugged access site


h) Access #8 South Branch Popple River

Fishing, parking along road only- rugged access site
For a fascinating read about what life was like growing up on an isolated farm in the 1960's near this stretch of the Popple River read this book: "Fences in the Woods" by Ken Hedmark (2012).


i) Access #9 Popple River Crossing - Twin Rivers Rd
Fence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking along road only - rugged access site
As with other Popple River sections this one is not for paddlers with novice or intermediate abilities. A half-mile down river begins a long series of pool-drop rapids that are reliably obstructed by deadfalls and thus dangerous.
This section of river is remote and very beautiful with stretches of marshland and mature forest land along the bank. There are beaver dams to cross. In all this section is 6.3 miles of river which takes a minimum of 3 hours to paddle and portage. The river in this section has remnants of the logging era (2.5 miles downriver) including what remains of the embankment for Podunk Dam.


j) Access #10 Popple River Access - FS 2161/Hwy 139
Fence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking are- improved access site
In this area the Popple River travels through a massive wetalnd marsh that creates the natural water reservoir that sustains river flow between rainfalls. The river section through this marsh is surprisingly deep and navigable long after the rest of the Popple River gets too shallow to allow canoeing. The thick marsh makes shore land virtually impenetrable for the first 4.5 miles downriver from the put-in.Typical of the Popple River the section after the marsh has some very challenging stretches of rocky rapids that culminate in a massive blockage to river passage. No portage trail exists but it is possible to travel through the mature forest land uphill from the river for the required 1/3 mile portage around the blockage. In all, this section is 8 miles of river which takes a minimum of 4-5 hours to paddle and portage.


k) Access #11 Pine River Crossing - Hwy 139
Long Lake, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking area- improved access site


l) Access #12 Pine River Chipmunk Rapids - Dream Lake Rd
Long Lake, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking area- rugged access site
USFS campground with spring water. There is a staff gauge on the middle bridge support, downriver side.


m) Access #13 Pine River- Goodman Grade West
Florence, WI

Waterfall, fishing, parking area, paddle access- rugged access site
There is a very sweet, mostly flat water canoe trip starting below Meyers Falls and stopping above Bull Falls (or continuing further). This is a 2 mile river trip taking about an hour and the bike trip back is similarly about 2 miles on good dirt road. This is a beautiful trip full of spring wildflowers. The big difficulty is getting a canoe down the rugged path to the water below Meyers Falls and then back up the steep bank to the landing above Bull Falls.


n) Access #14 Pine River Hwy 70 Goodman Grade Center
Florence, WI

Paddle access, fishing, parking are- improved access site
The old bridge remnants are evident. Easier access than at Bull or Meyer Falls.


o) Access #15 Pine River- Goodman Grade East
HWY 70, Fence, WIMap

Waterfall, fishing, parking area- rugged access site
This is a beautiful area with rich, mature open woods and some amazing spring wildflowers. Also see #13 trip between Meyers and Bull Falls.

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